After an evening watching MTV with his pup, Enzo, Dan Schneider can't imagine putting the little guy to bed in a typical dog crate.
"It just wouldn't work," the young entrepreneur says. And he doesn't mean that the adorable shar-pei couldn't get used to the arrangement.
The crate would be out of place in Schneider's sleek living room, where he has black leather seating, white carpeting, a stainless-steel coffee table, and a flat-panel television (to say nothing of whimsical bar stools and a baby T. rex replica).
So Schneider chose something a little hipper: Bowhaus' cylindrical metal crate, whose styling makes it nice enough to function as a side table ($540). A raised stainless-steel feeder on balled feet (about $60) complements it, as do some cool toys -- including one that looks like an X formed by two blue dog bones.
Designed by Karim Rashid, Dog Bone (about $18) -- also known as Dxg Bxne because of its shape -- is even coveted by folks who don't have dogs.
For those who want to integrate their pet's gear into their decor, choices are online and in specialty stores, many at upscale prices, says Tierra Griffiths of the American Pet Products Manufacturers Assn.
Dog-sized sleeping quarters in Louis XVI style?
No problem, says interior designer Stephen Alessi, who once scored an iron sleigh bed for a client's schnauzer.
At Anthropologie, where handsome dachshund-shaped "diners" holding stainless bowls ($48) are displayed, pet products have been sold for the past few years. But the array has doubled since 2003, president Glen Senk says.
And at Ikea, a new line of 50 design-savvy, affordable pet items has just debuted -- everything from toys you wouldn't mind leaving out on the floor to towels with attractive pet designs and inviting animal-inspired cushions.
Some of this is about not having to hide a pet's unsightly stuff, says Debbie Colclasure of Laid Back Enterprises, whose Just Bepaws division puts out such trendy fun products as ceramic bowls that resemble takeout containers (cat bowl, about $11) and placemats depicting "people" place settings ($5).
And some of the thinking behind pet beds -- which can range from pillows coordinated to a room's palette all the way to structured, miniaturized sofas, benches and chaises built lower to the ground --may be about wanting to keep pets off the other furniture.